Instant Pots and other electric pressure cookers certainly do live up to their healthy, quick-cooking, meal prepping, hype! What many folks don’t know is that these machines allow for incredibly versatile cooking. Whether you are a loyal user or still working up the courage to take it out of the box, you’ll be amazed how canned foods can be the stars of your Instant Pot creations. Here are 5 ways to get started.

Instant Pot Basics

The Instant Pot is actually a multipurpose appliance, acting as a pressure cooker, slow cooker, rice cooker, yogurt maker, and MORE. Built-in sauté and warming functions allow for start to finish cooking all in one pot, plus it’s more energy efficient. Toss in a few staple ingredients and get a healthy meal on the table FAST!

Canned Tomatoes

Get a boost of cell-protecting lycopene by pressure cooking canned tomatoes. The Instant Pot is the perfect one-pot cooker for everything from chili to spaghetti and meatballs. Place all the ingredients – including dry pasta – in the pot and cook the entire meal in one shot.

Canned Beans

Pop open a can of beans to add a dose of plant-based protein to soups, chili, stews, and whole-grain salads. You can also make large batches of rice and quinoa in the Instant Pot and store in the fridge for the week ahead.

Green Chiles

Canned green chilies are a creative and convenient way to add low-calorie flavor and just the right amount of heat. They are the secret ingredient in this Tex-Mex Chicken Soup (recipe below).

Canned Fruit

Did you know you can bake in the Instant Pot? Grab a few cans of sliced peaches, pineapple chunks, or pumpkin puree and allow the natural sweetness of fruit to elevate sauces, cakes, and casseroles. Make a batch of pumpkin-apple butter in about an hour or try a make-ahead peach French Toast Casserole for a weekend brunch.

Coconut Milk

Creamy coconut milk is a delightful addition to recipes in the Instant Pot. Light and full-fat versions add richness and a hint of coconut goodness to rice, curry, and a crowd favorite – Crème Brulee.

Tex-Mex Chicken Soup

Tex-Mex Chicken Soup


  • 1 tbsp olive oil
  • ½ cup chopped yellow onion
  • 1 red bell pepper, seeded and diced
  • 1 poblano pepper, seeded and diced
  • 12 oz boneless, skinless chicken thighs
  • ½ tsp kosher salt
  • ¼ tsp cayenne pepper
  • 1 10 oz can diced tomatoes with green chilies
  • 3 cups homemade or low sodium chicken stock
  • 1 cup frozen corn kernels (can also sub 1 cup of low-sodium canned corn)
  • 1 ½ cups canned blacked beans, rinsed and drained
  • 1 cup fresh cilantro leaves
  • Lime wedges for serving
  • Select sauté and add the olive oil to the inner pot. Add the onion, bell pepper, and poblano pepper, and sauté for 2-3 minutes, or until the onions become soft and translucent.
  • Add the chicken thighs, kosher salt, cayenne pepper, diced tomatoes, and chicken stock to the pot.
  • Cover, lock the lid, and flip the steam release handle to the sealing position. Select Pressure Cook (high) and set the cook time for 12 minutes. When the cook time is complete, quick release the pressure.
  • Transfer the cooked chicken to a medium bowl and use forks to shred. Return the shredded chicken to the pot and add the corn and black beans. Stir, and then leave in the pot for 5 minutes and allow the beans and corn to heat through.
  • Ladle the soup into serving bowls and top each serving with cilantro leaves and a squeeze of fresh lime juice. Serve hot.

Serves 8.

Nutrition Per Serving:

Calories: 141; Total Fat: 4; Saturated Fat: 1g; Carbohydrates: 14g; Sugars: 5g; Fiber: 5g; Protein: 14g; Cholesterol: 37mg; Sodium: 350mg

Excerpted from Healthy Instant Pot Cookbook reprinted by permission of Alpha, a division of Penguin Random House LLC. Copyright © 2018 by Dana Angelo White

Coconut Crème Brulee

Coconut Creme Brulee

  • 1 cup whole milk
  • 1 tsp cornstarch
  • 6 egg yolks
  • 1/3 cup, plus 6 tsp granulated sugar
  • 1 cup canned coconut milk
  • 2 tsp vanilla extract
  • Fresh berries for serving
  • Place the steam rack in the inner pot and add 1 ½ cups of water. In a small bowl, combine the milk and cornstarch, and stir until the cornstarch is completely dissolved.
  • In a medium bowl, combine the egg yolks and 1/3 cup of the sugar. Whisk until well blended, and then whisk in the cornstarch mixture, followed by the coconut milk and vanilla.
  • Strain the mixture through a fine-mesh sieve and into a large 4-cup measuring cup. Pour equal amounts of the mixture into 6 medium ramekins and cover each with a small piece of aluminum foil.
  • Place 3 ramekins in the steam rack. Cover, lock the lip and flip the steam release handle to the sealing position. Select Pressure Cook (High), and set the cook time for 8 minutes. Once the cook time is complete, allow the pressure to release naturally for 5 minutes, and then quick release the remaining pressure.
  • Remove the lid. Using tongs, remove the ramekins from the pot, remove the foil and set aside to cool. Repeat with the remaining ramekins. Once the ramekins have cooled, individually cover with plastic wrap and transfer to the refrigerator to chill for a minimum of 4 hours.
  • Preheat the broiler to high. Sprinkle 1 teaspoon sugar over top of each ramekin. Place the ramekins in a large sheet pan and broil for 1-2 minutes, or until the sugar melts. And becomes slightly caramelized. Remove from the oven and allow to cool slightly. Top each serving with fresh berries.

Serves 6.

Nutrition Per Serving:

Calories: 219; Total Fat: 14; Saturated Fat: 10; Carbohydrates: 19g; Sugars: 18g; Fiber: 0g; Protein: 5g; Cholesterol: 189mg; Sodium: 21mg

Excerpted from Healthy Instant Pot Cookbook reprinted by permission of Alpha, a division of Penguin Random House LLC. Copyright © 2018 by Dana Angelo White

Dana White


By Dana White, MS RD ATC
Author: “Healthy Instant Pot Cookbook”

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